Chicory (Cichorium intybus), is also knows as blue daisy, blue dandelion, blue sailors, blue weed, coffered, etc. All parts of the chicory are edible and can be eaten by humans and livestock without hesitation.
The leafs of the chicory can be eaten raw, although the older leafs are rather bitter. The leafs cannot be dried very well and should therefore be eaten fresh. Chicory leafs contain a high amount (100 grams contains more than 20% of the daily value) of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B5, and B9 (folate), and manganese. Especially the amount of vitamin K is very high (100 grams contains more than 280% of the daily value). Vitamin E and calcium is also present, though in lower quantities.
The roots of the chicory can be dried for tea, eaten boiled or used as a coffee substitute or additive. To use them as a coffee substitute you have to clean them and roast them in the oven until dark brown. Chicory root is a source of prebiotics and inulin (fiber and sweetener). Tea from chicory root is proven to help digestive problems.
Chicory has a mild laxatative effect, therefore it can be beneficial for digestive problems like upset stomach, constipation. Chicory can further help to increase appetite and overall wellbeing. Dried chicory roots are used to treat jaundice and as prevention against liver damage. Furthermore, chicory is high in beta caroteen which can help protect against colon cancer. By its promoting effect on the gallbladder, chicory consumption can be used to treat gall- and liver stones and promote urination and exertion of harmful substances. Chicory can also act as a relaxant and can therefore help with rapid heartbeat. Moreover, chicory has anti microbial and inflammatory properties making it helpful in the treatment of cuts and wound and in the treatment of arthritis, gout and rheumatism. Lastly, chicory consumption can lower LDL cholesterol and help weight loss.
So, eating the chicory sounds like a good idea. At vegetarium, however, we do not really eat the root or the leafs. Why I am not sure. We mainly eat the beautiful blueish purplish flowers. I couldn’t find the specific benefits of eating the chicory flowers, but man do they look good in a salad.
Written by Camil